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Prostatitis or BPH? Determining the Difference

Both prostatitis and BPH are conditions related to the prostate gland. They are different conditions and although some of the symptoms are similar, they are caused by different things. Prostatitis or BPH? Let’s find out how to determine the difference.

Let’s Start with the Prostate

The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and it surrounds the urethra. It is normally the size of a walnut, and it produces the fluid for semen. It begins to grow as a man ages and can affect urination. 

The prostate can grow causing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or it can become inflamed and infected like with prostatitis.

urologist consulting with patient.

What Is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. This can occur due to a traumatic event or injury or from bacteria invading the gland from sexual intercourse or urine.

Bacterial prostatitis usually happens in young men less than 35 years old. Non-infectious prostatitis occurs in older men.

Symptoms of Prostatitis

Bacterial prostatitis can have multiple symptoms including the following: pain during urination, fever and chills, pain during ejaculation, pus-like discharge from the penis, pain in the pelvic region, and a frequent need to urinate. Patients can also have muscle and joint pain plus lower back pain and abdominal pain.

If the condition is chronic it can present with erectile dysfunction.

What Is BPH?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the enlargement of the prostate gland. As the gland becomes larger, it squeezes the urethra making it difficult to empty the bladder. It usually occurs as a man gets older. It can be treated, but it cannot be cured.

Symptoms of BPH

Some of the symptoms for both conditions are similar, especially difficulty with urination and frequent urination. What is a noticeable difference are the signs of infection from prostatitis like fever and chills.

BPH has the following symptoms: needing to urinate frequently – especially at night, pain during urination, trouble starting, dribbling or weak stream, urgency, and incontinence. 

Some Final Words

Both conditions can be treated to relieve symptoms.

Sometimes there are no symptoms for either conditions.

Both conditions are benign or non-cancerous.

Both conditions should be managed and have careful follow up from a urologist like Dr. Steven Gange in Salt Lake City, UT.

Contact Dr. Steven Gange at (801) 993-1800, or request an appointment online, if you are having symptoms of either BPH or prostatitis.



I have seen Dr. Gange for a number of years and developed the typical symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. During my annual urologist visit, Dr. Gange laid out my options. After doing some personal research, I elected to have the Urolift procedure performed by Dr. Gange on an outpatient basis.

The procedure was uncomfortable but not particularly painful compared to other surgeries I have had. Recovery was relatively quick and I was back at work after two days of rest.

I did experience some significant discomfort associated with urination but was counseled that I was not drinking enough water. Once I increased my consumption of water, most of the discomfort went away and I was back to normal after about two weeks.

In the wake of the surgery, the urgency to urinate has gone away. The interval between trips to the bathroom has lengthened significantly such that I usually get up to urinate only once each night and sometimes not at all.

Having talked with others who have had more drastic prostate surgery, I feel that the Urolift procedure was much less stressful and the results were as hoped for.